Mulvey points to positives

A solid week of intense training has Brisbane Roar Head Coach Mike Mulvey feeling positive ahead of Sunday’s fixture against Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium.

A solid week of intense training has Brisbane Roar Head Coach Mike Mulvey feeling positive ahead of Sunday-s fixture against Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium.

It-s the first time since Mulvey took over exactly a month ago that he has had seven full days to prepare for a match and he-s done so with an emphasis on not just a result, but an improved performance from last weekend-s effort against Newcastle Jets.

“We-ve made a few changes, probably needed, just to freshen up the team,” said midfielder Massimo Murdocca, who Mulvey confirmed would be in the starting side against the Wanderers after a series of cameo appearances off the Brisbane bench.

“At the end of the day, last week wasn-t the best performance, well below par and probably one of the worst performances I-ve seen for a long time here

“We-ve looked good at training this week, intense, and that-s how we-ve got to be on the weekend.” Coach Mulvey, a month into his tenure at the club also expressed his pleasure at the quality of training during the week ahead of the Wanderers clash.

“The intensity has been fantastic and the lads have bought into what we-re trying to do,” he said.

“I can-t speak highly enough about that - we recognise we were below par last week and we want to repay the faith of the Brisbane public and put on a good show on the weekend.”

The Roar will be without midfielder Erik Paartalu, who made a midweek transfer to Chinese Super League club Tianjin Teda, giving Luke Brattan the chance to make his first start of the season while Murdocca is expected to line up in a more defensive role.

Mulvey eluded that new signing Jade North would not be rushed into action but a hip injury to Matt Smith means the skipper is only half a chance to face the Wanderers.

“We-ll make a decision [on Smith] as late as possible but it is a bit of a 50-50 call,” Mulvey said.

“For the likes of Luke [Brattan] now, his time is now - he-s a very good accomplished player and has had bit parts to play in the past few seasons.

“I think you need to back these lads and give them an opportunity and he-s a local boy, which is very important to me, so he-s definitely in contention for the weekend.”

Both of the previous encounters between the two teams this season has seen a goal-scoring achievement for the Hyundai A-League-s newest club, while the Roar are yet to score against Western Sydney.

Their first match-up at Suncorp Stadium back in October saw the Wanderers- first ever goal in the competition, scored by Mark Bridge, while last month-s Parramatta Stadium clash marked Japanese import Shinji Ono-s first goal on Australian soil.

“Western Sydney are having a fantastic season,” Mulvey said.

“They remind me in some regards to Gold Coast United in their first season, where they have a great team comradery and good organisation.

“They have surprised quite a few teams and they-ve beaten us twice, they-re a team in form and they-re coming to our paddock.

“But this is our paddock so we want to make sure we are playing to the best of our ability.”

At the other end of the pitch, the Wanderers are proving even harder to break down, conceding the least goals of any Hyundai A-League club this season (10) and goalkeeper Ante Covic holds the joint-highest number of clean sheets in the competition (7) but Mulvey is still confident of a strong attacking performance from his side.

“I-ve been really happy with the way the lads have responded this week, it-s been great,” he said.

“We want to give the Brisbane public what really is a Brisbane Roar performance.”

Sunday, 20 January Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers Venue: Suncorp Stadium Local Kick-Off: 4:00pm Referee: Matt Gillett

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1HD and Sky Sports 1

ABC Radio Coverage - Updates only

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael Theo (gk), 2. Matt Smith (c), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 11. Ben Halloran, 12. Julius Doe, 13. Jade North, 15. James Donachie, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 20. Matt Acton (gk), 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich, 25. George Lambadaridis *two to be omitted*

In: 12. Julius Doe (new signing), 13. Jade North (new signing), 18. Luke Brattan (promoted), 25. George Lambadaridis (promoted) Out: 6. Erik Paartalu (transferred), 24. Nick Fitzgerald (omitted) Unavailable: Jack Hingert (hip injury - 4-6 weeks), Do Dong-Hyun (knee - 2-3 weeks), Henrique (hip injury - 1-2 weeks)

Western Sydney Wanderers squad: 1.Ante Covic (gk), 2. Shannon Cole, 3. Adam D-Apuzzo, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Michael Beauchamp (c), 6. Jerome Polenz, 7. Labinot Haliti, 8. Mateo Poljak, 9. Dino Kresinger, 10. Aaron Mooy, 11. Tarek Elrich, 13. Joey Gibbs, 14. Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, 15. Reece Caira, 16. Rocky Visconte, 17. Youssouf Hersi, 18. Iacopo La Rocca, 19. Mark Bridge, 20. Jerrad Tyson (gk), 21. Shinji Ono, 23. Jason Trifiro *six to be omitted*

Ins: 15. Reece Caira, 11. Tarek Elrich, 13. Joey Gibbs(all promoted), 23. Jason Trifiro (back from suspension), 9. Dino Kresinger(returns from injury), 16. Rocky Visconte(new signing) Outs: Nil Unavailable: Tahj Minniecon (foot - indefinite)